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Effects of simulated acid rain on soil CO₂ emission in a secondary forest in subtropical China

Chen, Shutao, Shen, Xiaoshuai, Hu, Zhenghua, Chen, Haishan, Shi, Yanshu, Liu, Yan
Geoderma 2012 v.189-190 pp. 65-71
acid deposition, carbon dioxide, ecosystems, emissions, nitrogen oxides, pH, pollution, seasonal variation, secondary forests, soil respiration, soil temperature, sulfur dioxide, variance, China
Acid rain, which is caused mainly by dissolution of sulfur dioxide (SO₂) and nitrogen oxides (NOₓ) in the atmosphere, has been reported to have negative effects on ecosystems. However, few investigations have focused on the impacts of acid rain on soil CO₂ emission in forest. In this study, the effects of simulated acid rain (SAR) on soil respiration (Rₛ) and its heterotrophic component (Rₕ) in a secondary forest in subtropical China were investigated. Soil CO₂ efflux was measured by using a Li-8100 infrared gas analyzer with attached chamber. Measurements were generally made once a week from 21 March 2010 to 16 May 2011 in order to investigate the seasonal variations of Rₛ and Rₕ under different SAR treatments. Soil temperature and moisture at the depth of 5cm were measured at the time of soil CO₂ efflux measurements. Results indicated that different SAR treatments exhibited similar seasonal patterns of Rₛ and Rₕ. Seasonal mean Rₛ rates for the CK (deionized water), A1 (pH 4.0), A2 (pH 3.0) and A3 (pH 2.0) treatments were 2.63, 1.92, 1.89 and 2.16μmolm⁻²s⁻¹, respectively, while mean Rₕ rates for the four treatments were 1.80, 1.64, 1.76 and 1.79μmolm⁻²s⁻¹, respectively. Two-factor analysis (respiration components and SAR) of variance implied that SAR had significant (p=0.031) effects on soil CO₂ emissions, but this was contingent on the specific respiration components. SAR showed significant inhibition effects on Rₛ (autotrophic+heterotrophic components) rather than Rₕ. The ratio of Rₕ to Rₛ was significantly higher in the CK than in the acid rain treatments (A1, A2 and A3). Soil temperature and moisture were two controlling factors regulating the seasonal patterns of Rₛ and Rₕ for each of the SAR treatment. Soil temperature and moisture accounted for more than 80% of the seasonal variations observed in Rₛ and Rₕ. This work highlights that the effects of SAR are important to consider in assessing the annual soil CO₂ emission, particularly under the scenario of increasing acid rain pollution.